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T3 News Network

T3 News Network

Air India unveiled its comprehensive transformation plan, to position itself, once again, as a world-class global airline with an Indian heart. The plan is titled ‘Vihaan.AI’, which in Sanskrit signifies the dawn of a new era, with identified objectives for Air India over the next 5 years.

As part of Vihaan.AI, Air India has put into place a detailed roadmap with clear milestones. Over the next 5 years, Air India will strive to increase its market share to at least 30% in the domestic market while significantly growing the international routes from the present market share.

Commenting on Vihaan.AI, Mr. Campbell Wilson, MD & CEO, Air India said, “This is the beginning of a historic transformation for Air India, and the dawn of a new era. We are laying the foundation for a brave new Air India, with a renewed sense of purpose and incredible momentum.  Vihaan.AI is our transformation plan to make Air India the world-class airline it once was, and that it deserves to be again.  We are absolutely focussed on being recognized as a world-class airline serving global customers, with a proudly Indian heart.”

“The transformation has already started - a slew of initiatives in areas like refurbishing cabins, serviceable seats, in-flight entertainment systems, are already underway. We are also adopting proactive maintenance and refining flight schedules to enhance on-time performance. Our fleet expansion will involve a combination of both narrow-bodied and wide-bodied aircrafts to cater to varied network needs. The excitement and shared commitment to drive Vihaan.ai is palpable across the organization and stakeholders will recognize the changes as the new face of Air India emerges,” added Mr. Wilson.  

Southern Travels, celebrated its journey of 5 decades and the new brand logo was inaugurated by G Kishan Reddy on 14 September 2022 at The Lalit, New Delhi.

Speaking on the occasion, G Kishan Reddy, Union Cabinet Minister of Tourism & Culture, Govt. of India mentioned, “Today, I am delighted to manifest and comprehend the contribution of Southern Travels to travel and tourism in South India. Indeed, both have a golden history, a history based on commitments made with people, culture, and time. 50 years of excellent services, recipient of National Award, 8 times in a row, and the privilege of representing the country at WTM, ITB Berlin, ICCA, ATM, TANA and other events of international repute. And, it is the company’s staunch leadership, guided by ethical values embedded in Indian culture, has made this possible.”

A Krishna Mohan, Managing Director of Southern Travels mentioned, “Southern Travels is the first company to be awarded an 18-room + 36 dormitory beds facility inside the Kashi Vishwanath Temple premises/corridor make Southern Travels a really distinguished player in India’s tourism industry. This will certainly boost the traffic and allow senior citizens and NRIs to experience the Darshan from very closer quarters and comfortably. Apart from this, the company is poised to embark on overseas destinations with ambitious plans and viable strategies to exhibit India's global vision – from South India to South East Asia by 2024 and gradually into other continents. Presently, the company owns 11 offices across India with a fleet of its own vehicles and caters to over 1.5 Lakhs tourists every year”

The company is now heading for an expansion spree. By March 2023, it will register its presence also as a service provider in over 50 cities in India. 

 

‘Welcome to St. Petersburg’ had its first roadshow on September 7 in Mumbai, at The Lalit Hotel, bringing together a delegation of DMCs and hotels of Russia’s St. Petersburg and 98 travel professionals from Mumbai, followed by a roadshow in the capital on September 8th. The event aimed to present the numerous possibilities of St. Petersburg as a multifaceted travel destination for Indian travelers.

 

H.E. Alexey Surovtsev, Consul general of the Russian Federation mentioned, “I am happy to welcome all of you at the first event of Roadshow, in the year of 75th anniversary of Russia and India’s diplomatic relations. Today, in these constantly changing times, we value true partnerships and India is definitely one of the major partners for Russia. So, let’s develop our close ties also in tourism exchange. Indian travelers are as warmly welcome now as they have been before.”

 

Mr. Prashant Chaudhary, the official partner of Visit Saint Petersburg in India further elaborated, “This year marks 55 years of relations between sister cities Mumbai and Saint Petersburg. We are aiming to promote St. Petersburg as a year-round destination in the Indian market as its worth exploring its beautiful winter season. St. Petersburg offers to be an ideal destination not just for MICE, family groups and leisure travelers but also for India’s ever-growing wedding destination market and film shoots.”

Lemon Tree Hotels celebrated its 20th anniversary on 2nd September 2022. With the completion of 20 years, the chain stands at a capacity of 8,300 rooms in 85 hotels across 52 destinations in India and abroad. To mark the occasion, the company held celebrations across all its hotels, as well the corporate office in New Delhi.

On the current pipeline of hotels becoming operational by 2026, the company will be operating ~10,900 rooms in 114 hotels across 69 destinations, in India and abroad, including Aurika, Mumbai Skycity, which will be the largest hotel in India with 669 rooms.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Patanjali Govind Keswani, Chairman and Managing Director, said, “I would like to thank each member of the Lemon Tree family who has been a part of this journey. These twenty years have seen us go through numerous ups and downs, and this celebration is a testament to the dedication, hard work and resilience of every single team member who has helped us to reach this milestone”

AM Hotel Kollection announced the expansion of its portfolio by signing new contracts in Maharashtra, Sikkim, Rajasthan, and its 5th hotel in Goa. The 4 new hotels added to its portfolio are Amarpreet Hotel in Aurangabad, The Grand Anukampa Hotels in Jaipur, Calangute Towers in North Goa, and Indra Mandala in Gangtok, Sikkim is a new launch. The new contracts have added 265 keys, along with restaurants and banquet venues.

Randhir Narayan, Founder and CEO of AM Hotel Kollection, commented, “The team and I are privileged to be associated with our new hotels. The assignment is challenging, which excites me personally. We are confident of adding value and enhancing its product offering and services and our vision is to create a truly memorable experience for the hotel guests and visitors.”

DreamSetGo has partnered with Manchester United to become its ‘Official Supporter Travel Supplier for India’. The first-of-its-kind partnership will allow the Red Devils’ Indian fans to get access to premium experiences and deepen the clubs’ fan engagement in the country.

Through the association, DreamSetGo will provide Indian fans with ‘Match Breaks’ featuring official match tickets, premium matchday hospitality, as well as opportunities to meet first team players and Manchester United legends, observe first team training sessions, VIP stadium tours, Manchester United Soccer Schools for children and conference facilities at Old Trafford for corporates to host board meetings.

Speaking about the partnership, Monish Shah, Founder and Chief Business Officer, DreamSetGo, said, “Manchester United is one of the world’s most followed football clubs with a massive following in India. Our partnership will give these fans an opportunity to visit the legendary Old Trafford stadium, create memories for a lifetime by creating customized and unique experiences.”

Victoria Timpson, CEO of Alliances and Partnerships, Manchester United, said, “The Club has a large and passionate fan following in India and through our partnership with DreamSetGo we are pleased to be able to welcome these fans to Old Trafford, by offering some truly unique travel packages from a trusted and reliable travel provider.”

WATconnect, an initiative from World Architecture Travel (WAT) presents an architecturally immersive travel experience to a unique location across the country. This September WATConnect in collaboration with massArt plans to communicate the art/ architecture/ local economy aspects of the Durga Puja and invite people to attend a preview show that will showcase the twenty most innovative and best of Durga Puja art installations from the 22nd to 24th September.

“Durga Puja of Kolkata has recently been enlisted as the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage from India. Apart from being a religious festival, Durga Puja is also a unique temporary architecture and installation form. It can perhaps be considered the largest kind of installation art. The city is transformed into a breathtaking public art gallery with attractive idols of the Goddess Durga, through lavish themes and artworks during the festive season.” says Brijesh Shaijal, Founder, World Architecture Travel.

The Leela Bhartiya City Bengaluru enters its second year of growth and success. The hotel housing 281 luxury guest rooms and suites witnessed a significant growth since its launch.

Nestled amidst the pristine environs of Bhartiya City spread across 125 acres, the hotel exudes modern luxury and sophistication. Opened during the pandemic, the property which is the perfect blend of modern amenities with classic traditional touches has hosted many national and international events and conferences in the last 1 year.

Another feather in the cap of this unique property is the association with one of the oldest vineyards of Karnataka, Grover Zampa, to introduce their very own label of wines. Falak Wines, served at their Indian speciality restaurant was conceptualised to give diners the ultimate experience of fine dining with the Indian cuisine. The property is the first Leela Hotel to do so.

The Leela Bhartiya City Bengaluru in the last 1 year has staged a significant number of conferences and events including the ICWF, Asia’s largest Wedding conference, a convention that featured and highlighted every aspect related to wedding and the fraternity as an amalgamation.

Speaking on the occasion, Hotel Manager Rohit Pandey said, “In the past one year, the hotel has seen a significant growth in terms of revenue and footfalls. The team which lives by the brand motto of ‘Atithi Devo Bhavo’, deserves a special mention for all their hard work and efforts. We are certain that The Leela Bhartiya City Bengaluru will see many more accomplishments and growth in the years to come”.

EaseMyTrip.com becomes the presenting partner of Road Safety World Series T20 Tournament 2022 powered by SAT Sports News.  This is yet another significant EaseMyTrip marketing initiative. This association demonstrates the brand's enthusiasm for considering important marketing partnerships as well as its firm belief in supporting and addressing important societal issues like traffic accidents.

The main chest of Indian jerseys will feature the company’s logo where players like Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh etc will be seen wearing the jersey. Several marketing initiatives, both online and off, will be used to promote this association.

The Road Safety World Series (RSWS) is supported by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the Ministry of Information & Technology and Youth Affairs & Sports Government of India.  

According to Nishant Pitti, CEO and Co-founder of EaseMyTrip, “As a travel brand we want to occupy mind space in a wider canvas, and what better way to do that than cricket, a game followed by millions across the globe.”  

RSWS Season 2, Sanjay Bector, Chairman 27th Sports, the exclusive marketing rights partner of the Series, said, “It is a big boost to the ecosystem with new brands like Skyexch, SAT sports news and EaseMyTrip deep diving to associate with an event which is not just about the game and the Legends who are playing here, but a movement to save lives.”  

Paul Slatter, Commercial Director at 27th Sports, added "It also shows the evolving mindset of brands which are looking beyond just commercial tie-up and engaging in events with a social cause and a broader implication towards humanity.”

Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Irfan Pathan, and Yusuf Pathan are just a few of the famous players who play for the India Legends, a team that is captained by Sachin Tendulkar. The second edition of the RSWS has drawn a number of A-list players, including Jonty Rhodes, Lance Klusener and Makhaya Ntini, from South Africa; Ian Bell, Nick Crompton and Matt Prior from England; Tilakratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya and Thisara Perrera from Sri Lanka; Brian Lara, Dwayne Smith and Darren Powell from the West Indies; Shane Watson, Brett Lee, Brad Hodge, Brad Haddin, Stuart Clark and Cameron White from Australia and Ross Taylor, Shane Bond, Craig McMillan, Kyle Mills and Jacob Oram from New Zealand.

The matches will be streamed digitally on VOOT and Jio while being broadcast live on Colors Cineplex, Colors Cineplex Superhits, and the recently launched Sports18 Khel.

Air India has signed leases and letters of intent for 25 Airbus narrow-body and 5 Boeing wide-body aircraft to augment its existing fleet in the near term.

These new aircraft, which will enter service from late 2022, will increase the airline’s fleet by over 25%. Not counting the 10 long-grounded narrow-body and 6 wide-body aircraft that have been returned to service in recent months, these new aircraft mark the first major fleet expansion since Air India’s acquisition by the Tata Group earlier this year. The aircraft being leased include twenty-one Airbus A320neos, four Airbus A321neos and five Boeing B777-200LRs.

The B777-200LRs will join the fleet between December 2022 and March 2023, and will be deployed on routes from Indian metro cities to the United States of America.  Mumbai will see the addition of flights to San Francisco as well as to both of the New York area’s international airports, Newark Liberty and John F Kennedy, while Bangalore will receive a 3x weekly service to San Francisco.  These aircraft will result in Air India offering Premium Economy haul flights for the first time.

The 4 A321 aircraft are expected to join the Air India fleet in the first quarter of calendar year 2023, while the 21 A320 will be inducted in the second half of 2023. These aircraft will be deployed on domestic sectors as well as to short-haul international destinations.

Commenting on the fleet expansion, Campbell Wilson, CEO & Managing Director, Air India, said, “After a long time without significant growth, Air India is delighted to resume expanding its fleet and global footprint.  These new aircraft, together with existing aircraft being returned to service, address an immediate need for more capacity and connectivity, and mark a strong step forward.  Air India has exciting expansion and renewal plans, of which these new aircraft are just the beginning.”

Air India’s narrow-body fleet currently stands at 70 aircraft, of which 54 are in service; the remaining 16 aircraft will progressively return to service by early 2023.  Similarly, Air India’s wide-body fleet currently stands at 43 aircraft, of which 33 are operational. The rest will return to service by early 2023.

 

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